No, I'm not Irish, but I once had a wonderful friend who was Irish through and through. His name is Patrick Bresnan. He now works in New York. But in the years that our lives were connected, we never once neglected to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.
His day would start off by going to early morning mass. He would arrive at our place of employment where he knew his friends and co-workers would be ready to celebrate his birthday. Yes, his birthday is March 17th, being Irish, he was named after his patron saint.
The rest of us would be sporting green hair, clothing, shamrocks, you name it. A wonderful luncheon of corned beef and cabbage, a huge birthday cake, Irish coffee and Celtic music playing in every corner of the building would permeate the day. Those were wonderful times. I miss them and my friend dearly.
So, even though I'm not Irish, I still celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. My love of history and anthropology have given me an appreciation of the gifts all cultures have to offer.
So for today, enjoy these delicious butter cookies made with my Mother's "Galletas de Mantequilla" recipe.
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 2½ cups flour
Cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla. Slowly, add flour and knead to combine well.
Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes for easier handling. Roll out a small portion of the dough between two pieces of wax paper to ¼ inch thickness.
Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out desired shapes.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes (middle of oven) at 325°. If desired, before chilling dough, add food coloring during the mixing process. Also, after cutting with cookie cutters, you may sprinkle shapes with colored decorating sugars.
Makes about 1 ½ to 2 dozen, depending on size of shapes cut.
For the rainbow cookies, I used a round cookie cutter and then cut each in half before baking. The shamrock cookies, I sprinkled green sugar srinkles before baking. I used royal frosting to decorate the cookies. White as a base for the rainbow cookies and green tinted frosting for the shamrocks. Use M & M minis for the rainbow bands.
1 pound (1 box) confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
6 tablespoons Wiltons Meringue powder
6 tablespoons (about 1/3 cup) water
paste food coloring, if desired
Mix all ingredients in electric mixer for 7 minutes.
The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.